HARRISBURG – State Senator Gene Yaw (R-23) today announced that he will introduce legislation calling for easier access to abuse-deterrent opioids, and require mandated naloxone reporting following an overdose or overdose death. Naloxone, also referred to as Narcan, is a medication called an “opioid antagonist” used to counter the effects of an opioid overdose.
“It is widely known that a majority, roughly 80 percent, of heroin addicts can trace their addiction back to prescription opioids,” Yaw said. “For the past two years, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, of which I serve as chairman, has been examining the heroin and opioid epidemic plaguing the Commonwealth. Law enforcement, healthcare professionals, treatment providers and educators all provided information on how best to address this important issue that is skyrocketing out of control. I am hopeful that broader availability of abuse-deterrent opioids and enhanced reporting methods can all aid in this fight.”
Yaw’s bill would require insurance plans to provide access to abuse-deterrent opioid analgesic drugs, and apply cost-sharing provisions for these products at the same level as the cost-sharing applied to other brand name and generic drugs covered under the insurance plans’ formularies.
Abuse-deterrent opioids are pharmaceutical products that have been recently developed that contain abuse-deterrent properties and are designed to be harder to crush, cut, dissolve or inject.
The second bill would establish a uniform manner in which heroin and opioid overdoses, and specifically heroin deaths, where naloxone was used, are reported to the state. Currently, there is no mandatory reporting system in place.
During nine public hearings held by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, law enforcement officials addressed the inadequate tracking methods currently used to document overdoses and deaths.
“At this time, naloxone reporting is voluntary, and I believe this legislation will help provide a more accurate assessment of the heroin epidemic in Pennsylvania,” Yaw added.
Rita Zielonis, Chief of Staff